“Gilbert put his arm about them. 'Oh, you mothers!' he said.
'You mothers! God knew what He was about when He made you."
~ Anne's House of Dreams
When my siblings and I were young, we would always ask our mom what she wanted for Mother's Day. The answer was always the same: "I just want one day without kids fighting!" Psshaw. Yeah, right. Since that wasn't an option, we spent many years honoring our dear mother with alternative gifts, including a menagerie of unidentifiable clay creations, an array of popsicle stick projects, and one white vinyl purse that looked like it belonged to a hooker from the 1980s.
This year I decided to think out of the proverbial (gift) box for Mother's Day. I figured that if Mom was so attached to the idea of peace and harmony in our home all of those growing up years, then she wouldn't mind if I gave her a little peace and harmony from my own home, even if it is two decades late. By far, the most tranquil place around here is the back yard; it's our little bit of heaven in a hectic world. There are quaking aspen and blushing hydrangeas and meandering lavender paths. On the west side of the house, in the quietest corner of the yard, a Ranier cherry tree poses in arabesque over a little wooden gate. When I thought of where to honor my mom---the mom who flitted about the kitchen doing ballet and who hand-picked cherries to put in summer pies---I knew this was the place: the gate beneath the dancing tree. This is where I feel my mom's heart.
Yesterday I took a brush and some paint and monogrammed the letter "J" on that little gate. "J" is for Julie. From now on, whenever we look at that gate, we will think of her. And if we're on our best behavior, we won't even fight over who gets to open it.
Happy Mother's Day . . .
P.S. In the interest of playing fair, I decided to do a monogram for my husband's mother as well. However, if my husband wants to wax wistful about why we chose this spot for her letter, he'll have to write about it himself. Don't hold your breath.